Like a Prayer
Everyone must stand alone
with other loners. The black lace
veils from every other chapel-
goer, all the doves mourning
a boy-star petered out too soon.
Heaven help me slip through
the bars of this brick house
shattered by blue light, glum moon
fidgeting with shadow. The boy’s
black light vision. His sideways
ways of painting wings, crowns,
anointed words and words
backtracked. Track back
a beginning, what the cave muralists
meant. Not the death of the beast
but the brilliant red, the rigid white
of bones. Raise folded hands
and a fur-gilded skull. Crown yourself
with horns, most elegant weapons.
And with slowly going embers
listen to angels’ hushed sighing.
Martyr me with paint, boy. Make it last.
Wesley Rothman’s poems have appeared in The Rumpus, Vinyl, Crab Orchard Review, 32 Poems, and elsewhere. He teaches at Emerson College and Suffolk University.
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